The Diving Bell Makes Me Cry

The Diving Bell.

The Diving Bell makes me cry.

The Diving Bell was posted back in July 2011. It’s February 2012 now. It made me cry like a baby when I first heard it. Over and over I heard it, and over and over it made me cry. Real, dripping tears. I’m not embarrassed to admit that, I lost my shame a long time ago when it comes to this stuff.

The Diving Bell is stunningly beautiful. There really aren’t better words. The guitar is incredibly gorgeous, it’s ringing coupled with Kristin’s sweet vocals is what’s making this song, even in it’s demo form, one of my all-time favorites. Normally I’d NEVER make that distinction when a song is really still in it’s infantile form, not having been recorded in the studio, but this, oh, this. And hell, I rarely make that distinction even with songs that are finished. This is different.

I hear The Diving Bell as what it is. It’s sparkly guitar. Kristin’s beautiful voice. Not much else. I like it stark. The vocal and guitar are such a perfect pairing in this case, they don’t need much embellishment at all. They should stand alone. I think the addition of bass or drums in this song would take away that inherent beauty. Of course a bit of embellishment is great. I do think, though, that this song *feels* like it needs to stay pure to itself. Minimalist. Sometimes that’s the most striking way to be.

The Diving Bell is such a ‘floating on water’ type of song. Like you’re way off shore, rolling on gentle waves. It’s really quite lovely. I kinda love to go there. To fall into this song, it almost envelopes you like sand would, if you stood on the water’s edge as the tide came in, your feet sinking deeper and deeper. Feels pretty nice though, doesn’t it?

“into your void I follow….” is where The Diving Bell makes me cry. It’s heartbreaking. I could write more but it makes me cry.

The surface of what you don’t see

I take that quote from Throwing Muses’ Half Blast. It makes me think of the dragonfly. Dragonfly symbolism is centered on deep thoughts rising to the surface and and paying attention to those thoughts… I like to also think about it the opposite way, too. To dive through that surface and soar through everything underneath. There’s ALWAYS more to the story.

Take Day Glo, for example. This was my favorite of the songs that were coming out around then. It wasn’t until years later that I really felt the depth of that song. I identify with it now on a level I never did. For me, it’s a very, very sad song. It describes how I feel sometimes to a T. “then you melt into the background” “adding injury to your insult”. When I feel low, I melt into the background, withdraw from people, then no one seems to notice, which makes the initial feelings all that much more worse. My rational mind knows this is complete bullshit, that people *may* notice but they are also living their own lives. It’s hard sometimes, in this distributed world we live in, with our friends all over the place. But we all feel crappy about ourselves sometimes. That’s why it’s important to recognize that when we’re NOT feeling crappy, so we can try to remember that these feelings are often unwarranted and get over ourselves.

I don’t mean for this to be a self-help post, but hey, that digression just happened. Day Glo, though, is such a good example of what I mean. It can crush me if I listen to it when I’m sad. When I’m my usual self? I can hear it and love it like I did that first day. I can hear it and feel it’s pain, but not experience it. I think that’s a good thing to be able to do.

“Come outside…… look at these crazy stars!” How amazing is it when you really SEE something? Not just *seeing* it like, “oh, OK, stars. yay.”, but really, REALLY noticing it, “HOLY FUCK! those RULE!” I love when music hits me like the latter. It can be real intense, too, which brings to mind Quick. That’s going to have to be a whole blog post in itself, since I relate that song to a Hindu goddess. I don’t think I’ve discussed that here yet, but oh, the *genius* in that song. It’s quite powerful.

I think my point of this post is really that these songs do tend to show their deep underbelly over time. You may not see it until you need it, either, and you’ve gotta be able to open yourself up to them. The songs are smart. They know their message is wasted until you need to hear it. I’m always so honored when they DO decide to show me what’s beneath the surface. These songs are better friends than real people are, most of the time. They reveal bits of themselves when you need them. They commiserate, they bond, they comfort. They morph and change but stay true to their message. Makes me wonder about what else these songs have to give. I never just listen. I feel.

Eden through the blizzard

Only you can see Eden through the blizzard

This has always been one of my most favorite lyrics, from El Dorado. I think of it often, several times a month, easy. It’s this line that helps me through The Hard Things. It’s motivation to get through it. It’s a reminder that Eden is out there, and if you look closely enough, you can see it as the swirling snow parts for a moment. And it’s hope. A direction in which to walk, bent forward to push through the strong wind, ice burning on your face to get through to the other side. Thinking, “This really sucks but if I keep going I’ll get through it.” and Eden is perfect. The beautiful reward for your perseverance, the serenity and calm. Even bliss?

I’m reminded of this as I read Kristin’s essay, Eden. This idea of home is your Eden, your pot of gold through the endless storm of life. We all have our Eden, as we all have our blizzard. Sometimes life can be a huge pile of bullshit and we need to find smaller Edens along the way to keep us going.

Music, for me, is my one consistent Eden. Home doesn’t have to be a *place*. I hear these songs sometimes and it’s like coming home. Kristin’s songs. New ones seem to come right in and fill this spot I had, waiting for their puzzle piece, an empty spot I hadn’t realized I had until it had been filled. They all bring their own bit of self, I let them in and make them my own. I feel them and let them say what they want, or say nothing until years later, when the time is right. They morph and change and adapt with life, and they’re always there, regardless. When things suck, I can fall into the music and feel at home there. A reprieve.

These songs are my Eden.

We’re all trying to find our way home one way or another. I curse Disney for ruining the concept of “we’re all in this together”, because we are. Your blizzard, my blizzard, your Eden, or mine. They’re different, yet the same.

I hope you….find your way home.

Strange Aging

Time flies. 14 years ago yesterday I gave birth to my first daughter. She was a month early and the tiniest little thing. She was 5 lbs. I called her my little sack of flour. And a whole lot of other things, that kid had so many nicknames.

Her real name, though, is very special to us. All along it was my intent to name her something starting with K. We tried out several options on the fridge in magnet letters. We’d look at our choice for as long as we needed until we didn’t like it and changed to something else. We kept coming back to KALEN, which was a name we saw on a license plate on a car in Hawaii when we were on our honeymoon. We were driving behind that car and we both agreed it was a cool name. And it stuck.

It’s purely by chance that I married into an H surname, but the K is completely intentional to honor Kristin Hersh. Kalen has always known that she’s Kristin’s “initialsake”. She knows how much this music has meant to me since I was 17, and how much Kristin means to me as a friend. There’s no doubt that this music has shaped my adult life, which may have taken a different path had I not found it. I may not have this life I have, this husband, these children. So it seemed only natural to give this distinction to my first born.

Kalen was due on March 6th, but she decided to come out on February 3rd, which coincidentally is the day Strange Angels was released. How serendipitous.